SCEFL First Division Preview – 2021/22
It has been 273 long days since the last SCEFL First Division games were played but the League is back this Saturday and with play-offs on the cards for the first time ever it looks like this could be our most exciting season on record for this Division.
It’s all change for the format, and all change for the teams as Kennington, Holmesdale and Rusthall deservedly take the step up, and Larkfield & New Hythe, Faversham Strike Force and Staplehurst Monarchs step up to replace them.
The FA reshuffle also means some lateral movement and we welcome Tooting Bec, Chessington & Hook and Westside FC into our now expanded League.
The play-offs will mean this season should be competitive right through to it’s 23rd April conclusion with places 2 to 5 then competing for an extra place in the Division above. The Champions will automatically gain elevation so get prepared for an exciting conclusion to the 2021/22 Campaign.
At the other end the aim will be to stay out of the bottom three as with demand to join us so high a trio of teams is likely to be relegated from the First Division and move into one of the feeder leagues.
Each Club will have the own hopes and aspirations for this year so let’s waste no further time and have a club-by-club look at this year’s runners and riders, while hearing from some of the key people involved…
Bridon Ropes kick-off our First Division preview but it is the season kick-off that their Manager Nathan Simpson is looking forward to after a busy past few months.
“The whole club are looking forward to getting back to competitive fixtures. Friendlies lose purpose after a while.
“We only had a couple of weeks off due to the London Trophy. But we have had a chance to look at a few things and are happy going into the season.
“We have a lot of the old faces, but have managed to bring in/back a few players we hope will make a difference. Josh Oatley has been doing an outstanding job with our reserves and a few of his players have now stepped up too which is great for the club.”
Larkfield & New Hythe are their first opponents while the FA Vase in September means a game at Eastbourne United.
“It’s just great to have competitive fixtures again, but the lads are particularly looking forward to a weekend in Eastbourne in September.
“As a club, we want to be back competing in the top half of the table, but you need some luck for that. Our focus is on the first 6 games and we will see how we go from there.”
A whole world of adventures awaits SCEFL new boys Chessington & Hook United as lateral movement into our First Division gives them new grounds to visit and new opponents to play.
They arrive to us as a bit of an unknown quantity and miss week one to host Lydd Town on week two, kicking off their 100th season as a club.
To find out a bit more about them we hit them with some quickfire questions…
Are you and the team looking forward to the season start after such a long time out?
“The management team and the lads are itching to get back out on the pitch after such a long time out from a competitive fixture. You can’t beat playing for 3 points!”
How have preparations gone?
“We have had a mixed bag of results, but the main thing has been getting good minutes into the players’ legs against teams all from the step above which should set us in good stead come the first game of the season.”
Are there big changes to the squad, exciting new additions or mainly the same set-up as before?
“With a fresh new management team this season, we have made considerable changes within the 1st team squad with only 5 of last season’s squad still with us, but some of the additions are faces that are well known to the club as we have lots of exciting young players stepping up from our u23s and u18s squad from last season who have shown they thoroughly deserve the opportunity.”
Thoughts on your early opponents in League and Cup?
“We won’t be looking at any of our opponents as we want to make sure our house is in order first and have our focus on us as a squad and not worry about any opponents, we will attack every game fearlessly and give it a real good go.”
Can you reveal an aim for the team this year?
“With a fresh, mainly new, squad and new league our aim for the season is a top half finish, keep the squad together, add 1 or 2 players and continue to build and progress the following season.
We are looking forward to playing in a new league and competing with new clubs.”
Croydon FC will be relishing the return of competitive football this weekend especially as it means a chance to play at their home arena again.
A disturbed year on the road is now over and First Team Manager Liam Giles cannot wait to get going again.
“We certainly are looking forward to the new season, it’s been a long time since we last played a game at the arena so are even more so excited to be returning home.”
“Preparations haven’t been too bad, however we have had a fair amount of unavailability to contend with due to self isolation and other reasons so haven’t been able to use the same bunch of players but it’s given us chance to share the minutes out and give more players opportunities. Results haven’t been too bad winning 4 out of 5 games with 4 of them games against steps 5/4 sides. So I am happy with that.”
Ahead of the game against Staplehurst Monarchs how is the squad looking compared to last season?
“We have made a fair few changes to the squad, notably bringing in experienced players such as Nic Taylor, Tim Beckford, Taylor Maddock and so on.
We also have made some adjustments on the coaching staff bringing in Sean Booth as first team coach and more recently bringing in Jason Birchall as goalkeeper coach.
“We don’t know much about our opposition Saturday however I’m sure they will be coming to the arena looking to upset us and are sure to be hungry. I expect it to be a tough test.”
Do your aims for the season include a play-off place?
“Firstly, I really hope we are able to finish the league this season it’s been frustrating to say the least the last 18 months. We aspire to be the best team in the Division and will be looking to gain promotion back to the Premier this season. However with the added games and tough opposition this will be a very competitive Division.
“Lastly, I would like to encourage as many people to come down to the Croydon Sports Arena and cheer us on we haven’t been home since March 2019 so it will be great to be back playing in front of our superb fans. Football is nothing without them.”
Faversham Strike Force are the first of three teams to gain entry to the SCEFL from the Kent County League.
Playing at Rochester United’s Rede Court Road ground Strike Force have planned their progression well and are looking forward to this new stage in their Club history.
Manager Gary Axford shared his thoughts on their preparations
“At Strike Force we are all keen to get started, It’s a new chapter for the Club and one we are all looking forward to.
“Our preseason has gone very well, having such a disruptive last two seasons the most important thing is to be match fit and ready for that all important first game.
“We have made some very good additions to the side, we now have a good mix of experience and youth and it will be a headache to pick a squad for the first game as there will be some disappointment for sure.”
SCEFL life begins at Sutton Athletic before a home game with landlords Rochester. September brings their first ever FA Vase game.
“To be honest I have never been to concerned with the opposition, particularly as we are now in a new league playing sides we have not come across before. We will take every game as it comes along. We will be the side nobody knows much about, and I quite like it that way.”
“We are looking forward to playing in our first FA Vase game, and I am sure it will be a good game away to Loxwood.”
Expectations at Strike Force this year?
“I am not giving too much away, but we will surprise a few sides for sure.
“On behalf of the committee at the Club I would like to pass on my thanks to the SCEFL and all member Clubs for making us feel welcome.
Best wishes to Gavin Hoare and the KCL Prem were we have played in all divisions and been champions 3 times in 6 years.
“Now let the competition begin.”
Expect a new FC Elmstead this year after summer saw the departure of Ennio Gonnella and the arrival of Peter Nolan.
The new Elmstead boss is pleased how pre-season has gone and can’t wait for things to get going.
“I think all at FC Elmstead are looking forward to competitive football again and we are all hopeful that we can have a season that looks like a season that we used to have before the pandemic hit. It’s been a hard time for a lot of people and the majority have gone through hardship of some sought throughout the past 18 months, we at FC Elmstead hope that all people and for the purposes of this article all people connected to football have battled through the tough times best they can and continue to stay safe and healthy as we make a collective effort to return to normality.
“Preparations have gone as well as they can given the situation that we have found ourselves in, the squad has been built over a 5 week period and within that period we have had to have a week away due to a few COVID cases throughout the management team and group however we are through that now. It has been a different and tough pre-season but I think we have done the most with what we have had, my management team and I have created a structure and culture in a short space of time. Given the new setup at the club we have had a lot of players come in and we are still putting the final pieces together that will take us into the first few weeks of the season. Friendly-wise it has gone well and players have got valuable minutes, we have played higher opposition throughout the pre-season campaign and pleasingly we have competed in all of these fixtures and we have seen noticeable improvement from our 1st friendly at the beginning of July to where we are right now.”
You have not had long to form a squad for the season. How is it looking?
“My management team and I got announced on 16th June and we came into pretty much a blank canvas, we have built a squad from scratch which is always difficult to do in a relatively short space of time however we feel we’re in a good place. We have managed to get a good blend around the squad with some individuals that have been around this level or higher for a while and some individuals that needed a break to step up to the level. If we use friendlies as our barometer and for us as a new squad it is all we can go off right now I believe we have good quality throughout the group and if we can gel we will hopefully compete in each and every game.”
What are your thoughts on your early games and how you may fare in a tough Division?
“I genuinely believe it will be hard for anyone to judge their start this season, competitive football feels like it has been away for a long time. In the 2020/21 season sides in SCEFL First Division played between 5-8 league games, looking back further than this I’m not sure it would be truly reflective of where clubs are today. Gameweek 1 we travel to Thamesmead, I have kept an eye on their pre season campaign and it seems like they have performed well, I think as an opening game for our new squad it is a fairly tough fixture and Thamesmead are a side that attract good players down to Bayliss Avenue and are usually seen at the right end of the table. As for our fixtures beyond this we face Lewisham, Bridon, Stansfeld & Croydon in the league and have drawn Canterbury City in the FA Vase, I don’t think it’s a good or bad start to the campaign however I think it’s exciting for our group and by the end of that period of games It will give myself and my management team an idea of where we are as a group.”
“For us this season we understand that we are a new group to the league and whether we have experience around the camp of the level doesn’t change the fact we are a new entity however with the restructure that football has undergone we aren’t alone in that sense. We want to compete in as many fixtures as possible, we haven’t put targets on the group yet, as just discussed we know our first set of fixtures, once we get ourselves through these we can start to talk realistically about what we aim to achieve this season. I think the new playoff structure probably gives every side in the league an amount of hunger & hope to look at those spots and try to be able to put runs together throughout the season that give you a chance to make it.”
“Predicting the league this season is extremely tough, I think a few sides that have come into SCEFL First Division look like they are going to do very well but you can’t ignore sides that have the experience of being in the league season after season and having the understanding of what goes into a full season at this level. I personally think we might see a campaign where a lot of sides take points off one another and any side that can find consistent patches of form will end up in and amongst it come the end. I think the season will prove to be entertaining and will be full of twists and turns.”
The season was so short last time that Forest Hill Park didn’t even get to play a home game.
Things will be different this year for sure but how have preparations gone at the Club and what are the aims for the year ahead?
First Team Manager Darrell Queeley gave us the answers.
“Our aim as always is to be competitive in each and every game then see where that takes us.
“Pre-season has been mostly positive, we have played some good sides and looked at a host of new players. It’s not possible to know exactly where we are at yet but our aspirations remain high yet realistic.
“We have managed to keep several of our core players and some have moved on to challenge themselves at a higher level. We have signed several new players who will be looking to prove themselves at this level. This is the challenge we relish at FHP.”
What are your thoughts on a season start at one of the early favourites for the Division,
“I’m on Twitter so I know what everyone else knows… Larkfield & New Hythe are here on serious business. We will however prepare for each game with equal respect, top, middle or bottom, each point we get we will have to fight for.”
Greenways have been the real entertainers of the First Division since they joined a few years ago.
They score for fun, and concede plenty too, so nobody goes home from their games not entertained.
They begin this campaign at Stansfeld then have early games against Croydon and Staplehurst Monarchs.
They should have a play-off place in mind as an aim this year as they are a club on the up with a loyal and strong core to their squad.
Kent Football United have welcomed back Ennio Gonnella into the dugout ahead of this 2021/22 season.
He will bring with him a squad full of talented and experienced players that are sure to have an eye on a play-off berth.
They begin their season in week 2 when welcoming SC Thamesmead to the Efes Stadium and continue their tough-looking start to the campaign when visiting Rochester United in the midweek straight after.
By then we should know what KFU are able to offer a Division that they should have a significant say in.
Ahead of the new season no SCEFL side has gained more interest than Larkfield & New Hythe have, with our new boys revealing constant new signings, all of impressive quality.
Going ‘under the radar’, is not what is happening here as ‘The Larks’ have forced themselves in as one of the favourites for their debut season at this level.
They are a new team to us but those that lead it are familiar.
Kris Browning and Graham Martin are well known for bringing K Sports through and, as Kris explains, they are all very happy to be back with us.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be back in the SCEFL after a couple of years away.
“Obviously I took over Larkfield and New Hythe FC when they were in the Kent County League Division 2. It was a step back but when I heard and saw the potential at the club, I was hooked. I didn’t mind managing again in the Kent County League it’s a hard but honest league and has improved massively over the years but I always wanted to test myself again at Step 6.
Preparations have looked busy with lots of incomings, how long do you think it will take for them all to gel?
“Pre-season has gone well, we had over 50 players who came along and now we’ve whittled it down to 18 players.
“I’ve tried to keep some of the lads from last season and blend them in with the new boys and it all seems OK at the moment – we have a good feel around the club.
“We had some tough pre-season friendlies against Tunbridge Wells, Sheppey and Eastbourne respectively but we held our own and it was encouraging for us.
“We have made some decent signings but it’s our first season in a new league so it will take a bit of time. I always break the season down so my hope would be a top 5 position by the time we go into the New Year and then re-assess the situation from there.”
The season for Larkfield begins at Bridon Ropes before Forest Hill Park are the first league visitors to the ‘Taray Group Community Stadium’.
“Bridon Ropes is going to be a difficult start for us as they are a well organised side who have been in this league for a while now. Every time I’ve played or managed against them they’ve always been a solid team and decent club.
“Also we are in the FA Vase which again is magical for a club like ours!”
Lewisham Borough have made plenty of changes to their playing squad this year as they look to see how they can impact a much-changed First Division set-up.
The Management Team of Owen Spence and James Quaynor are looking to enjoy the journey that lies ahead and are excited to get going.
James explains the Lewisham mindset ahead of day one.
“After a truly remarkable 18 months in which the planet have collectively suffered the new season comes not only with the usual anticipation and excitement linked to the seasons curtain raiser but with a sense of relief that association football is starting again as many of us have suffered during this highly difficult period.
“The preparation for the next season has been business an usual as we build upon what we have and seek to improve year on year. There have been plenty of changes to players that we are excited to be working with and we are looking forward to seeing how they progress this season.”
A long journey kicks-off the campaign but what can we then expect from Lewisham Borough over the months ahead?
“An away day to the coast awaits us for the opening game of the season at Lydd FC and we are expecting a real tough test against good opposition as we both look to start the season with a positive result.
“With teams moving out and new teams moving into our league, the start of this season may prove to be crucial for all the teams seeking promotion and no doubt all will be looking for a positive start which will only breed confidence within respective camps.
“The one thing this pandemic has done is bring some prospective into what is important in our lives so what I can say is we at Lewisham Borough intended to enjoy every moment that we face off against opposition and intend to play every game as if it is our last….”
It’s all systems go now for Lydd Town and they will be glad to get things under way after the tricky dealings of a pre-season in the Covid era.
Manager Mickey Doyle revealed how the preparations at the Club have gone.
“Everybody is excited. It’s been a long time coming but football is back and the lads and all at the club are certainly buzzing to get things going.
“This pre-season has been a challenging one. Loads of elements to overcome from Covid, The Euros, Isolation, Holidays etc. The list goes on but we are all in the same boat and with the league starting early and some cups finishing late it has be a real test for all involved.”
“Training has been good, myself & Kyle have learnt something from all the friendlies and every session. Results have been mixed but to be honest results in friendlies don’t matter, it’s from the 31st July that it matters and we have prepared the best we can in this testing climate.
How is the squad looking and how do you feel they shape up against your early opponents?
“We as a management team are pleased with our progress on this, as we had a meeting before pre-season we came up with a list of players and got want we wanted, and more. Some took longer than we hoped but we got there in the end. We feel the side has a good blend to it now.
“To be honest regarding the league we have to play everyone home and away, so I don’t really mind who we got first, second or last.”
Thanks for your time Mickey and good luck to Lydd for the season
“A quick word for the great work off the pitch again by the club in the off-season and with the partnership with the Balance Bar, which is such a great cause. The pitch is looking great, we are in good health and raring to go.”
For 2021/22 Meridian VP Chairman Dwinder Tamna has passed over the Manager duties to a Team headed by Owen Jones.
The new VP boss has plenty of SCEFL experience and is pleased to take the reigns at the Club.
“I just want to start by saying just how much I appreciate Dwinder, who I call Mr Chairman! He has been a tremendous blessing and support to me and my management team and we are all looking forward to 2021-2022 season.
How have the first few months gone at your new home?
“Preparations have been quite good and we can see a difference from when we first got together and it hasn’t taken that long to sort things out. The friendlies have been tough, but we knew that they would be difficult because we were playing teams from higher levels.
“We have learned how to adapt to the differences from teams who can challenge how we want to set up and play. It is a new squad of players, except for the goalkeeper, at Meridian VP and I do believe that we are all pulling together and buying into what I would like from the squad of players and from the management team.”
You have been handed a tricky first game, how do you see that going?
“We have Rochester United to play on Saturday in our first league game and to be honest it’s going to be tough. They are a good organised side with experienced players and younger players on loan from Ebbsfleet United.
“It’s a tricky start to the season as they are one of the favourites to go up so we will have to be on it. We are training hard to have an attitude of competing with all teams.
Where do you think Meridian VP will fit within the Division?
“As a club we all are aware of the job at hand, it would be nice if we could finish the season in the top half, that would be great for the club to build on.
“At Meridian we have no budget to pay players, we are all playing for free unlike other teams from Step 6 who haven’t really got the funds to pay players but managers will pay them out of their own pockets. I find that incredible and there are players out there who only care about the money and not the club and that is sad. Then you have the Chairman who will throw loads of money to attract the best players from Step 5 and 6 it seems crazy with what has happened to football in the past two years with the pandemic and lockdown.
“Just to finish by saying no-one, no players, no amount of money that the manager has, is bigger than the clubs that we are all at.
Thanks for your time Owen and best of luck for the season.
“Once again I look forward to the season knowing that it’s going to be tough. I thank my Chairman Dwinder for the opportunity for me my management team. God bless and thank you.”
Rochester United were one of the unlucky ones, coming so close to promotion but not benefitting from the FA restructure.
They go again.
And they go as one of the favourites to not just seal a play-off place but to genuinely compete for that one automatic promotion place on offer.
Phil Miles leads the team this season and their squad announcements show some wise additions alongside a heavily retained group.
They begin at home to Meridian VP, visit Faversham Strike Force then host Kent Football United.
After that busy opening 7 days we will then should then have an idea if ‘The Spartans’ are to again be spoken about as First Division title contenders.
SC Thamesmead led the table when the previous season was brought to an early end.
We will never know how things would have worked out for them but they were certainly well placed to stake a claim for a Premier Division place.
This season they have given themselves a tough set of pre-season fixtures and performed well during them all, picking up some eye-catching results along the way.
Head Coach, Graham Norris, ran us through their preparations, before looking ahead to how he sees the season going for ‘The Acre’.
“I think the start of pre-season you could see that some players need a little motivation to get back playing. When you haven’t really kicked a ball in 9 months you kind of lose a bit of motivation. Everyone has had a different experience during the pandemic but now we are all back together we can’t wait to get started.
“We’ve had some good tests during pre-season. Playing the likes of Phoenix Sports and Faversham Town in the last couple of weeks have really stepped up our preparations and we’ve come out of both games with respectable results. We’ve also played 3 SCEFL Premier Division teams and had some positive results from these also. Ultimately its about getting minutes in the legs, but you want to get into that winning mentality and getting positive results and I believe we’ve done that.”
Have you changed much within the squad?
“It’s mainly the same set up as before. When you look how we finished the season for the 19/20 season and how we performed in the short 20/21 season, there really wasn’t much that we needed to change. If we found a player that would improve or add to the squad then we have taken them on board and we feel we have done that.”
How do you see the early fixtures going?
“It’s definitely going to be a tough test to start. Elmstead are a team that have always been difficult to beat but we will be prepared. Our next couple of fixtures are also going to be tough but I don’t think there is one fixture in the league this year you can take for granted. We’ve drawn Erith Town in the Vase so a nice local derby to start that competition.”
What will be the key aim for SC Thamesmead?
“Quite simple it’s promotion. With the squad we have now we need to take that next step. We know we have a squad that is capable of competing in the Premier Division and feel a little hard done by not getting promoted due to PPG. That’s given the boys an extra incentive this season.
“I think it’s going be pretty much the unknown. 6 new teams have entered the league this year and not much is really known about them. We have watched a couple of these teams over pre-season to get a sense of how they will play. It’s going to be an exciting league this year, especially with the playoffs at the end of the season. Every game in the SCEFL is going to be tough so we will approach each game as it comes.”
The Snodland Town media team have been busy over the past few weeks.
New signings and retained players announcements have been coming thick and fast.
The Snodland squad looks big, it looks strong and it looks to have an eye on one of the 4 play-off places on offer.
They begin by hosting two of the new SCEFL sides within the first week. Westside FC visit Potyns this Saturday and 7 days later Snodland host Tooting Bec.
Snodland Town will be looking for a good start in those games and then to go on and achieve their aims in what is sure to be an exciting and hard to predict First Division season.
Good results in the recent unfinished seasons has put Stansfeld among those spoken of as possible promotion contenders this year.
First Team Joint Manager Billy Hamlin can’t wait for the season to get underway and first up for them is the visit of Greenways to Foxbury
“We are pretty pleased the boys have worked very hard in pre-season and can’t wait to get started.
“The squad is mainly as last season, we lost a couple but we’ve also gained a couple and the young boys are all a year older and are looking very good.”
“Greenways is always a tough game they score lots of goals but we are at home and looking to get off to a good start.
“In the Vase we have Bagshot. If you look at their results, last season it didn’t go too well for them but they could have 15 new players we just don’t know.”
Are there big aims for Stansfeld this year?
“We will see how we go. We need to get off to a good start, you have got a number of teams paying money; so we will see where we are after 10 games.”
Next in this season preview is a team we have been expecting to talk to for a while.
Staplehurst Monarchs have narrowly missed out on a SCEFL status in recent years but they have been elevated now and they are looking forward to take the opportunity.
First Team boss Steve Sands is glad to be here and glad to get going.
“Absolutely can’t wait. I think we all forgot just how much we’d missed the game and the banter. I was starting to get used to be on the golf course a lot more.
“Pre-season has been good there’s been lots of positives. We’ve got a good young keen and hungry squad that work well together. Shame we lost two fixtures with covid but I’m sure the boys will be ready.”
How is the squad looking ahead of a tough game at fancied Croydon?
“Last season a whole new squad joined Staplehurst….. I think we kept only 4/5 of the previous squad. We’ve again added more again with some very good signings on the pitch and to the coaching team with Adam Kerry and Jethro Warren joining me – both bring lots of experience and the right fit.”
“Croydon will be a big test. A huge club who will be looking to gain promotion….. but we will approach the game the same way and play our way.
“In the FA Vase we’ve drawn Sporting Bengal at home which is huge for Staplehurst football.
“So much work has gone into the club behind the scenes hopefully we can attract a big crowd and put on a good display.”
And a target for the season?
“Think our main aim is to compete. It’s not in our coaching staff’s mentality to just survive but it’s a big step….. one we can’t wait to tackle.”
Tristan Cropley is new to Sutton Athletic as their First Team Coach, but after time at Bridon Ropes, Welling Town and Forest Hill Park, he knows the Division well.
Therefore he is the perfect man to fill us in on the preparations for The Sutts’ ahead of Saturday’s season start.
“Everyone at Sutton Athletic is looking forward to the new season starting after 2 disrupted seasons which haven’t been fun on or off the pitch for anyone
“We chose our friendlies to give us a mix of challenges and levels ahead of a competitive SCEFL Division 1 season.
“The standout games for me are the win over Rusthall and defeat to Erith Town. Two different results against teams who play different styles of football and will both be at the top end of the SCEFL Premier I’m sure.
“Pre season may be about fitness but we’ve tried to learn something from every game as a team and as coaches. The squad is coming together nicely with a mix of familiar faces and a few exciting signings.”
Day One sees Sutton welcome a bit of an unknown quantity to Lower Road, while Meridian VP are visitors number two.
“We start the league campaign with new boys Faversham Strike Force. It’s one of those games where we need to focus on us.
“All you can you ask for is good start and two key home games gives us the environment to do so.
When you look into your Crystal Ball how do things look for Sutton Athletic in this First Division season?
“As far as predictions, I never make them as a coach. What I will say is I back our players to get the results needed to be challenging. I think that the new sides in the division may surprise a few especially if they start well.”
“I want to thank the chairman, secretary and all the volunteers. I believe It takes a team off the pitch to get a team on the pitch.”
Tooting Bec were one of the unlucky sides that just missed out on being rewarded in the recent FA reshuffle.
To add to that disappointment they now have to put up with me writing about a Club I currently know very little about.
We both need to get over this though and things will soon change when their season gets going at Snodland Town on August 7th.
Tooting Bec were among the top sides in their previous league and we would expect them to be competitive here.
Could a coveted top 5 spot beckon for them? Very possibly. It’s not long until we find out where there destiny could lie.
Westside FC Chairman Graham Holder, is the perfect person to introduce his club to us with Westside FC being one of the 3 teams to move laterally from the Combined Counties League this season.
They will know little about the bulk of our First Division teams but most will know little about Westside so Graham ran us through their preparations for this campaign before looking further ahead to what is in store.
“Everyone at Westside are very much looking forward to the new season but as the Combined Counties League ran a mini-world cup type of Tourny its not been that long out.”
“We have managed to win 3 out of our 4 pre-season friendlies only losing 0-1 to Step 5 CCL club Frimley Green.
“We do have quite a few new faces trying out for the club and as we have moved our Reserves into a higher level and introduced a third team, there will be plenty of opportunities for everyone, old and new to show what they are about. Quite a few of our squad have been with us since they were young and it is good that we have been able to maintain such development from our 30 odd youth teams.”
A trip to Snodland Town comes first, how do you see that and the rest of the season going?
“Our first game is against Snodland away and we know very little about them or the rest of the League except for Tooting Bec and Chessington who have moved with us from the CCL. It will be a very interesting season as the FA have put us into a competition where we will have a lot of difficult journeys which is something we have not been use too. Although we were shocked by moving to a league some distance from our roots in SW London and Surrey, we are taking a positive attitude towards the challenge and we hope to be successful.
“We also play Snodland in the FA Vase, I can’t say much about that for the reasons above. We are disappointed not to be in the FA Cup this season as it was a great experience last season with us eventually losing to a very good Chatham Town side.
Thanks for your time Graham and best of luck to Westside this year.
“Finally, we are a Christian based Community club who do a great deal of social work on estates in South London and try to provide support in what ever form is required for our players and their families. We have twice toured Senegal West Africa working with the missionaries there and many of our players have played for the Christians in Football GB team and Ambassadors in Sport in many places around the world.”
The League Season begins on Saturday 31st July with all fixtures being found here
All Managers or Clubs were sent requests for input.
The Premier Division preview can be viewed here